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1861: The Civil War Awakening Audiobook

1861: The Civil War Awakening

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Publisher's Summary

As the United States marks the 150th anniversary of our defining national drama, 1861 presents a gripping and original account of how the Civil War began.

1861 is an epic of courage and heroism beyond the battlefields. Early in that fateful year, a second American revolution unfolded, inspiring a new generation to reject their parents' faith in compromise and appeasement, to do the unthinkable in the name of an ideal. It set Abraham Lincoln on the path to greatness and millions of slaves on the road to freedom.

The book introduces us to a heretofore little-known cast of Civil War heroes - among them an acrobatic militia colonel, an explorer's wife, an idealistic band of German immigrants, a regiment of New York City firemen, a community of Virginia slaves, and a young college professor who would one day become president. Adam Goodheart takes us from the corridors of the White House to the slums of Manhattan, from the mouth of the Chesapeake to the deserts of Nevada, from Boston Common to Alcatraz Island, vividly evoking the Union at this moment of ultimate crisis and decision.

©2011 Adam Goodheart (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner, History, 2012

“With boundless verve, Adam Goodheart has sketched an uncommonly rich tableau of America on the cusp of the Civil War. The research is impeccable, the cast of little-known characters we are introduced to is thoroughly fascinating, the book is utterly thought-provoking, and the story is luminescent. What a triumph.” (Jay Winik, author of New York Times best-sellers April 1865 and The Great Upheaval)

"Engrossing .... Tension is palpable on every page .... Goodheart's book is an impressive accomplishment, a delightful read, and a valuable contribution that will entertain and challenge." (Harvard Magazine)

"Exhilarating ... inspiring ... irresistible ... 1861 creates the uncanny illusion that the reader has stepped into a time machine." (New York Times Book Review, cover review)

"In his marvelous book... Goodheart brings us into 19th-century America, as ambiguous, ambitious and fractured as the times we live in now, and he brings to pulsing life the hearts and minds of its American citizens." (Huffington Post)

“Jonathan Davis's narration sets the scene with hints of foreboding, creating a feeling of tension about the impending war. He draws listeners into stories of people like recaptured slave Lucy Bagby and future president James Garfield….Goodheart's meticulous research and lively writing will appeal to any history buff.” (AudioFile)

"Beautifully written and thoroughly original--quite unlike any other Civil War book out there." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Jimmy Powell, OH, United States 06-13-12
    Jimmy Powell, OH, United States 06-13-12 Member Since 2014

    I am a young-executive with a voracious appetite for great stories. I read and listen constantly, and am very proud of my book collection.

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    "Excellent Play by Play of USA's Tumultuous 1861:"

    Adam Goodheart does an excellent job of making you feel like you are there, right beside the other participants, in this incredibly immense and polarized year of 1861 in the United States.

    I could not be more impressed with the attention to detail, as Goodheart's ability to craft scenes allows the emotions of the moment to transfer to the reader some 150 year later. Literally, I got "goose-bumps" during certain exchanges between President Lincoln and his detractors. It could not be more amazing his foresight against the backdrop of history.

    I highly recommend this book, and I am certain you will realize there is much you don't know about the events that led to the Civil War. In addition, I promise a change in perspective on both this era in history and the people involved.

    I find this book is best at 2x speed.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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    Thomas Nedreberg Eureka, Utah 10-01-11
    Thomas Nedreberg Eureka, Utah 10-01-11 Member Since 2015

    Retired educator who now works for the Teachers Association. I drive a lot and I listen to a lot of books.

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    "Amazing Book"

    The Civil War didn't start in 1861 and it didn't end in 1865. The war started before our Revolutionary War and is still being fought today throughout our nation. It was great to be able to listen to this book and see that the war wasn't a black and white event but was an example of the constant give and take we have still today. The book was just a slice in time of our constant struggle as a nation to realize what it means to be "We the People..."

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda SACRAMENTO, CA, United States 08-20-12
    Linda SACRAMENTO, CA, United States 08-20-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Compelling and fascinating wide-angle view"
    Would you consider the audio edition of 1861: The Civil War Awakening to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version of 1861. I found the audio version to be completely satisfactory. I do listen to all audio books at 1 1/2 time, however.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the sweeping narrative of events, political, military, social, and cultural that impacted how people regarded secession and the coming of war and the end of slavery. I thought it was very insightful and added greatly to my understanding of the era.


    What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I think his 'voices' through the narrative helped to bring the stories to life.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was moved by many things, and I did find the story of Jessie B. Fremont sending violets to be laid on Thomas Starr King's funeral casket very sad and touching. Also, the story of the three slaves who first arrived at Fortress Monroe and the hundreds who came there and elsewhere seeking freedom was unforgettable.


    Any additional comments?

    1861 is an important addition to Civil War history. I think for historians and general readers interested in this period of American history it adds a lot of texture and context of the national mood across the country. Also, it brings so many other people into the story that we don't usually read about except in their individual biographies. How they interacted and the affect of their actions or writings on policy and opinion gave me new insights, including the story of Anderson and the Union troops who defended Fort Sumter against all odds. this book has inspired me to read more deeply about this period of American history.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saman Houston, TX, United States 07-13-12
    Saman Houston, TX, United States 07-13-12 Member Since 2010

    I am a lover of history and the fantastic tales of human achievement (or folly). Sometimes, a grand author captures my imagination.

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    "Stupendous!"

    This is an extraordinary story of individuals in an extraordinary time of our nation. I was naïve of the Civil War and lacked the meaning of the struggle for emancipation until I experienced this book. The author handsomely illuminates the ideology held by key players of the era leading to the eventual war of the States. It is clearly slanted towards the North (as it should be), and detail clearly the various sub-plots in the secessionist and non-secessionist thinking. I was particularly moved by the fate of Elmer Ellsworth and his Zouaves. Little did I know of the Wide Awakes movement or its pivotal role in St. Louis. This book details the entire sentiment of the time leading to the conflict. Definitely in the same league as the ‘Guns of August’ by Barbara Tuchman.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rupe 05-27-12
    Rupe 05-27-12 Member Since 2003
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    "A very interesting presentation..."

    I enjoyed the way the author brought out overlooked and forgotten details and persons leading up to the civil war. Ultimately it was all about a country that needed to move forward out it's own shame of slavery. How is it that disgusting evil can be so tenacious? As I grow older I am amazed at how short 150 years really is and I hope this country continues to move forward though I doubt we will ever experience such a social giant step as we did then. And yes it is a reminder of the greatness of Lincoln and leaves me wondering about the shallowness of modern day republicans,

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Billy 05-06-12
    Billy 05-06-12

    Billy

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    "Interesting & Specific"
    What did you love best about 1861: The Civil War Awakening?

    I loved the way that the author takes a snapshot of 1861, giving you not only the history, but the mood and tone of this tumultuous year.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Well, I think most people know how 1861 ends... or begins.


    What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    It is read very well, and dramatically.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, its way too long for one sitting. You would be worn out if you did.


    Any additional comments?

    For the serious historian, this is not really eye opening. But the very specific and unique stories told are interesting. I was most interested in the James Garfield piece. It made me want to read up on this guy. It seemed like an out of place story, but it was great anyway.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kerrie 03-25-12
    Kerrie 03-25-12
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    "Very enlightening"

    As as Australian, most of what I know of the Civil War in America has been gained from movies such as Gone With The Wind and tv series like North and South. It was very interesting to hear the facts that led to the war between the states and to learn more about Abraham Lincoln. I really enjoyed this book.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil Chisholm Buninyong, Australia 01-21-12
    Neil Chisholm Buninyong, Australia 01-21-12

    "fabric artist and quilter"

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    "Prelude to the war"

    The author presents the lead up to the war with explanations of incidents and the characters involved. Its fascinating and riveting stuff although a bit of background knowledge of the war is required. A great listen and well read by Jonathan Davis.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glancyguy Bixby, OK, United States 09-13-14
    Glancyguy Bixby, OK, United States 09-13-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Deep and thought provoking book about democracy"
    Where does 1861: The Civil War Awakening rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is one of the best books I have listened to.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Just about all the characters were my "favorite". The author did a phenomenal job of not only explaining the history, but also the hearts and feelings of the characters. It was unlike any history book I had ever read. The book was "alive" in many ways and it really helped me understand the culture of 1861 in a very intimate way.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are a hard core Civil War buff, this will probably be one of the best books you have read. It explores the deep emotions of the main characters we have read about. It gives you insight into what everyone was thinking when they made the decisions they made to go to war. I have read about the civil war on my own since the 6th grade and this book tied together everything I ever understood about it. It is very long, but worth every minute spent listening.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boots 06-09-14
    Boots 06-09-14

    Jim Bronson

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    "The loss of innocense."
    Any additional comments?

    This book was not about bullets and battles, this book dealt with the fact of the American people coming of age during the Civil War and for a short time thereafter. Having read many books on the Civil War seen many films and visited many battlefields and monuments over the decades this concept and factual evolution brings a whole new thought process to understanding what happened during the Civil War and thereafter. The author was inspired when he came up with the idea in his own mind to write this book. It's certainly a masterful presentation that you will enjoy reading and listening to. Definitely a refreshing look to the Civil War.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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